The Miracle of Sourdough – Part 2: The Recipe!

Day 1 - Make the Leaven
  • 1 Tbsp starter
  • 100 g water
  • 50 g bread or all purpose flour
  • 50 g whole wheat flour

Combine the ingredients.  Cover with a clean towel let sit at room temperature for 12 hours.  If it will be longer than 12 hours then put it into the fridge


Day 2 - Make the Dough

Step 1

  • 560 ml water @ 27ºC
  • 160 g leaven
  • 100 g whole wheat flour
  • 700 g bread or AP flour

Combine the ingredients in a bowl.  Let them sit for half an hour to allow the flour to hydrate and the dough to relax.

Step 2

  • 16 g salt
  • 40 ml waterMixing Dough

Add the salt and water into the dough.  Incorporate the salt by squishing the dough in your hand.  The dough will break apart as you do this.  Keep going until it comes back together and all the water has been fully incorporated.

Begin Ferment

Transfer the dough into a plastic square insert if one is available.  If not leave the dough in the bowl.  After 30 minutes do the first Turn on the dough.  This is done by lifting 1/3 of the dough up and over itself.  Reach down and grab the bottom of the dough and stretch it up over the top.  Do the same thing with the other two thirds of the dough.  After another half hour complete another turn.  You can be fairly aggressive with the dough during these first two turns.  Continue doing turns every half hour or so – be more gentle with the dough after completing the first two turns.  If you see signs that the dough is tearing back off on the tension.  Place the dough into the fridge after 4 hours has passed from the time you started the dough making process.


Day 3 - Baking the Bread

 Initial Shaping / Bench Rest

Using a plastic bench scraper pull the dough out of the container onto the counter.  Try not to knock out any of the air in the dough.  It should be well aerated and bubbly.  Lightly flour the top and cut the dough in 1/2.  Flip each piece over gently, so the floured side is on the bottom.  Pull the side of the dough farthest from you over to fold it in 1/2.  Repeat with another third of the dough and then the last third.   Turn the dough so the smooth tight surface is facing up.  This will eventually be the crust of the bread so you want it to have a smooth taught surface.  Work the dough into a round shape, building tension into this surface in as few movements as possible by cupping your hands around the dough and pulling it towards yourself.  Do not use any flour during this process so the dough sticks to the bench and the outer surface stretches.  If the surface rips you’ve made it too tight.  Stop shaping the dough and let it rest.  Dust the surface lightly with flour and cover loosely.  Allow to rest for 20 minutes before shaping.


Final Shaping / Proofing

Lightly flour the top of each round if necessary.  Gently flip the rounds over and repeat the shaping process.  Allow them to rest for a moment while you get two banetones (or bowls lined with clean towels) coated with a mixture of half rice flour and half whole wheat flour.  Coat the surface of each round with the rice flour mixture and place them surface side down into the banetone.  Allow to proof for two hours or more before baking.



Preheat the oven to 475ºF.  When the shaped loaves have increased in size by 25% gently press on the surface.  It should spring back to fill the indent made once two hours from shaping have passed.  From here you will monitor the expanding loaf vigilantly.    You don’t want to go beyond the point when the dough is as expanded with air as it will get.  When you feel the loaf has sufficiently expanded carefully turn it out of the basket  onto a greased or cornmeal dusted baking sheet.  Slash the tops of the loaves and immediately place into the oven.  Turn the oven down to 425ºF.  Ensure the oven is well saturated with steam and bake for 20 minutes.  Rotate the breads in the oven at this point as they should be browning and therefore have the structure necessary to handle the drop in temperature when you open the oven door.  Continue baking for a further 30 minutes, rotating every 10.  The crust should be a rich dark brown.  Place the baked loaves onto a cooling rack and allow to cool for a minimum of 4 hours before slicing.


I’m looking forward to trying this recipe out with our professional and non-professional students.